Two years following the announcement of its acquisition by Sapporo U.S.A., San Diego-based Sapporo-Stone Brewing unveiled the near completion of phase one of its expansion project at its Escondido brewery.

The $20 million investment in the Escondido, Calif.-based facility is one of two significant investments for growth with $40 million invested in the company’s Richmond, Va.-based operation. These investments will result in the doubling of the company’s capacity to about 700,000 barrels a year across its bi-coastal breweries. The brewing of Sapporo beers in Escondido and Richmond now is underway.

Stone Brewing, Southern California’s largest craft brewery was acquired by Sapporo U.S.A. in 2022. The goal was to transition from an importer to a U.S. brewer, ultimately brewing, selling and marketing all of Sapporo’s beers for the U.S. market locally. Richmond’s expansion will be unveiled this fall. By late summer, all production of Sapporo beers will have moved from Canada and Asia to the United States.

Sapporo-Stone Brewing now is a combined team of nearly 850 employees, about 600 of whom are based in San Diego County. In support of its expansion project, the company added 125 jobs locally and another 75 outside of San Diego County. More than 150 team members have been promoted or moved into new or expanded roles since the acquisition.

“Operationally, this acquisition looks a lot like a merger,” said Zach Keeling, Sapporo-Stone Brewing Interim CEO, in a statement. “Our two companies are now fully integrated ― innovating, brewing, selling, marketing, and operating as a single, combined business. The Sapporo and Stone Brewing brands will maintain their individual identities, but we are Sapporo-Stone in name, operations, and culture.”

The Escondido expansion project includes additional tanks and packaging lines to increase capacity and efficiency. On the West Coast, Sapporo-Stone now operates out of its two Escondido brewing and packaging buildings and a distribution warehouse with offices also in Escondido. It occupies additional warehouse space in San Marcos, Calif., and Downey, Calif. The company operates two Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and five Stone Brewing Tap Rooms. On the East Coast, Sapporo-Stone operates another brewery, an off-site warehouse, and a Stone Brewing Tap Room all in Richmond, Va. 

At its Escondido Open House event on May 21, Hiro Kitaoka, Sapporo-Stone Brewing Chairman stated, “Stone Brewing is among the world’s most recognizable and celebrated craft breweries. We admire the team’s innovative spirit, passion, and world-class brewing expertise. We are proud to continue the legacy of Stone and honored to have this full team's commitment to the Sapporo brand. We are stronger together, and proud to be a growing San Diego business.”